Mike Procter has expressed his disappointment over Sachin Tendulkar’s role in the much-hyped Monkeygate incident which happened in 2008 in Sydney. The match referee for the match has also claimed that in the accusation against Harbhajan Singh, Tendulkar never came forward with the truth.
India visited Australia for a Test series in 2007-08 and the tour, especially the second Test played in Sydney, is still remembered by the fans for all the wrong reasons. During Australia’s batting, Harbhajan's remark for Symonds didn't go down well with the Aussies and after the match then Australian skipper Ricky Ponting complained the match officials that the Indian player called Symonds a "monkey". The match referee for the match, Procter spoke about the incident in his autobiography and questioned Tendulkar’s role in the whole process who backed the Indian spinner during the hearing process.
“It was very disappointing. If he had said that (him hearing Harbhajan say ‘ma ki c***’ and not monkey) upfront, it would have been a whole different version. If Sachin had said that he had heard this, it was to be one person’s word against the other. It was going to create doubt and so he (Harbhajan) would not be (held) guilty on racism charges,” Procter told the Sunday Express.
“The words ‘monkey’ and ‘
During the hearing, Harbhajan found full support from the Indian team and especially Tendulkar who was with the bowler at the crease when the incident took place. Match referee Procter found Harbhajan guilty of racist abuse to Symonds and handed him a three-Test ban. Procter recalled that at the time of the hearing, Harbhajan claimed that English was a barrier for him.
“Harbhajan speaks English as good as I do. So he (Queen’s Counsel Nigel Peters, the ICC-appointed legal help at the hearing) said that they can have an interpreter, but he refused. Harbhajan didn’t offer anything… it was surprising that he did not argue.”
In his autobiography, Procter also mentioned that Chetan Chauhan, who was the Indian team manager that time, didn’t put his points strongly which left no options for him. It was learned that Chauhan submitted a report in which he said that there was doubt because the umpires and other players did not hear the words.
“He (manager Chetan Chauhan) informed Ponting that the racism charge was completely made up because as Indians, it was just not possible for them to be racist… To throw out Australia’s charge on the assumptive grounds that it was impossible for Indians to be racist would have made a mockery of the entire hearing.”